During this high competitive global work environments, the PM’s role is very critical for the individual and to the business.
We can recap the role of the PM and the advantages of applying the leadership skills while playing this role.
There are few scenarios or cases we need to consider, while assessing the leadership skills of a PM:
Let us assess first what are the critical tasks for a manager in a traditional projects management environment required:
1. Any manager is; just to plan and manage the tasks and make sure he/she is getting the required output from the team members on time, while executing the plans.
2. As a manager he/she need to make sure the mile stones are passed and the critical activities are being attended successfully by the resources.
3. The manager also needs to plan for several contingency plans and the risk mitigation plans to adhere to on time output of an activity.
4. He/she needs to apply the required policies and procedures from the company or client while operating the project. And it should be communicated to the team on time while applying them.
5. Some improvements need to be shown by the manager at different stages of the project execution.
6. The manager also needs to manage the resources administration with reference to the client or company policies.
7. Please note a manager without leadership skills is also a controller for resources. Hence the openness cannot be applied by the resources to express their views or ideas. Their work environment will not be well communicative.
These are the typical activities one might need to take care as a manager without having much leadership skills. Most of the managers lack the leadership skills. If we collect the legacy practices times, obviously no organization was looking for leadership skills in a PMs Role. Now the need is raised very much a manager also need to apply his/her leadership skills to manage resources with reference to the changes in the organizations and changing environments or work styles.
Now, let us see briefly the leadership skills, a manager need to have:
Any project or programme will have lot of dynamic changes with reference to the ad-hoc requirements or while facing the market challenges. During these times the following need to be considered to apply the PMs Leadership skills also as mandatory to demonstrate the reduction in costing:
1. A change in adopting project plans/execution methods need to be demonstrated.
2. Changes in resources skills up-gradation are required or new staff augmentation needs to be applied.
3. He/she needs to be adopted in the changing environments along with the resources. The manager also needs to redefine the roles of the team members along with the changes happening in the project(s) and the activities. The role changes need to be educated to the team members in advance with supportive confidence and also to get an agreement before performing the new tasks. This way the relationship with the resources made easier while executing new or changed tasks.
4. A manager need to be not only as an activity/task executor, should be adopted as a mentor, coach and team builder on the changing environment. This can help the team to be acquainted to the dynamic changes of the project activities. This can help the manager to produce the team’s outputs well.
5. A manager with the leadership skills should be an innovator to the team. It can make them as creators to adopt a new technology, processes and other new changes. Also they can take more efforts to complete the critical or complex tasks or new tasks.
6. The leadership should be adept for new ideas or best practices, adopting and implementing them. This way it can demonstrate to implement as an on-going improvements for the project and to the resources skills augmentation. When it is demonstrated the value of them also need to be assessed for the team benefits and their recognition. Then it can denote the importance of this manager’s role on the project as a skilled leader.
7. The PM with leadership skills, also need to demonstrate the Return on Investment [ROI] on any new changes to the organization. This practice can make the awareness on the manager and the team’s importance to the organization to sell them for their future business.
8. The manager as a leader should have openness to receive the feedback or suggestions or criticism. These need to be converted as process improvements or changes for better outputs towards ROI.
8. A leader cum Manager also can have the attitude of getting the things done on time to meet the deadlines, by having all new changes. It should be done without demonstrating the aggressiveness. Few additional efforts need to be applied by the manager and also by the relevant teams to achieve these results.
The PM cum leader should be able to practice the above key responsibilities as an on-going activity in his/her role for team’s productivity acceleration. There can be humpty number of internal and external road blocks while achieving these targets. He/she need to overcome them to show the on time results, which can demonstrate the manager and the leadership skills together.
Once the Activity completion is done, a retrospective discussion can be conducted by the manager and the team to bring up all the ad-hoc challenges faced along with the process improvements made to achieve the results. They need to include a senior management team also as part of this discussion.
The senior management team need to make sure they can take up this team’s practices to upper level in the organization to get some rewards or awards for the team. This is also the role of Project manager with leadership skills to make sure the team gets the required benefits. At the same time the team and manger are scaled up in the organization for their career progress.